Ah... English. The Fits It Can Give Us

While doing a little blog reading catch-up this afternoon, I learned of a series Richella is doing on grammar. (Thank you, Heather!) Her second post includes a giveaway (YAY! Who doesn't love a giveaway?)

Grammar has long been a love of mine. As far back as I can remember it has been imperative I use to, too and two or there, their and they're properly. It means everything to me to write a number over one hundred without using "and" (104 should be one hundred four NOT one hundred and four). Also? A comma before the word "and" is redundant. My list is extensive but in the interest of time (and not wanting to push anyone to madness), I'll end there.

At work I am known as "The Grammar Police." Nothing is supposed to head out of this office without my reading it first. I'm not perfect and I make more than my fair share of mistakes. I'm also a bit strict and can go a bit overboard in the rule department but I believe proper grammar is important and I agree completely with Richella. Head over to read her post and find out what I mean.

Funny story in regard to grammar. I was watching our local news one night several months ago. The story was about someone who was anonymously "fixing" grammatical errors on signs in the area.

Throughout the story there was a tag on the bottom of the screen giving you the reporter's name and on what she was reporting. Each time the word grammar would pop up it would read grammer. I sent an email asking if there would be a follow-up story on using spell check when typing... I never did hear back.

Oh and one last thing? I am an - if not the - Ellipsis Queen, I believe. I "dot dot dot" at least once in almost everything I write. Usually? Two or three times... Ah, the joys of grammar!


Was the Crowd Fickle?

A very big thank you to Lori for sharing this article. It is a wonderful explanation of a viewpoint and could possibly help clear up the question of "How could a crowd celebrate this man as their King and Savior one day and cry out for Him to hang not a week later?" I know I've had it for years - I've always just assumed the popular belief that it was the same group of people and somehow they turned on a dime... This has me thinking now, though, that perhaps I am too quick to swallow a story from my childhood simply because it is one I've heard over and over since childhood.

Time to do some reflecting and re-reading... I would love to read your thoughts.


Sunday Strength

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

~1 Peter 1:3-9



What is it with me and yellow this year? It seems to be the color I'm drawn to for some reason. Not bright, bold yellows - soft, buttery yellows. It seems to be my "soothing" color of choiceright now. Daffodils and then...

Another bit of yellow in my life, a touch of spring in my front yard...

It took a couple of days for it to open all the way but it was such a joy to watch.

Yes... there are still a few weeds to pull but I'm ignoring the weeds in my life right now. At least I'm trying to.



Today marks the two year anniversary of Thugater. Never thought for one minute I'd actually still be writing to this thing two years later. It hasn't grown to some big thing that attracts a ton of attention from the internet. It's my little corner of the www-osphere and I'm quite happy with it.

There isn't too much to do for such a momentous occasion. I don't have the type of readership that warrants hosting a giveaway. There are maybe 3 people who check this thing and one of them is related to me by marriage.

I'm not pouting or waxing sarcastic, I'm just writing the honest truth and marking a milestone. There are few things in my life I've managed to keep up for two years. Ok - few things like this. Following Jesus, my marriage, raising my children and working at my current job are all things I've worked on for a lot longer than two years but...nothing like this. Journals and diaries were always started with the best of intentions and then forgotten after a few months. Even my hope of keeping up with Scripture memorizing, etc. always starts out with a great plan and strong commitment but then I wane... I stop "showing up." I stop putting in the effort.

Here, though... here I keep writing. Perhaps this 3rd year of blogging I'll figure out what I really do it for and stick to some sort of "theme." Although...maybe not. Maybe it's the trafficking blog I focus on and attempt to raise my readership there. I think that one has a true purpose, a noble purpose (if you'll indulge me). Maybe this is the year to start getting on that. Although... with under 100 posts, that one might actually need a giveaway. Some Fair Trade coffee and the like.

Hmmmm.... now I'm thinking out loud & rambling. Never a good thing for me. I'm going to end this post by saying the picture at the top is the very first picture I posted on my blog two years ago, too. Good picture. One of my favorites, taken in one of my favorite places - Westport, WA.

Off to dream of ways to increase traffic to my trafficking blog. Oh the irony of puns...


You've Got Mail

The "blog world" is full of amazing people. Fun, intelligent, hard-working, creative, strong "I wish I could be friends, not just blog reading cyber-acquaintance" type people. I have come across so many of them in the two years since I launched this blog. There isn't a huge readership here and usually this blog works as a catalyst for people to discover my human trafficking blog, Fight4Freedom.

One of those interesting and intelligent people is Deborah at The Fairfield House. Maybe it's because she's in my native New Jersey and the picture of her house reminds me a bit of our house in Clayton (we moved from it when I was 10). Maybe it's the way she writes. She hasn't been blogging for very long and yet her writing has drawn people to her.

She's turned a postcard exchange hosted by Parsley at Seasons of My Mind into a postcard party. If you would like to participate, head on over to see Deborah. Or Parsley. I'm off to find a couple of really good Washington postcards.

They'll probably be pictures of my mountain. It's what convinced me to move here. Or maybe I'll find an Orca or two. Have you ever seen an Orca breech? Ever looked one in the eye being less than 10 feet away from his massivity? It is the most amazing experience I have ever had. There are laws concerning boats & how close they can get to Orcas. However - the Orca is not beholden to our law and when he came up right next to our boat, our captain had no choice but to stay put - no engine, nothing. I feel like if I saw that Orca again, he would know who I was immediately. He stared at me for what felt like hours and I was powerless to look away. Or maybe Pike Place Market. Or the Space Needle. Or the Olympic National Rain Forest...

There is so much to share of where I live. Now if only I could get the same response and end up receiving postcards from across the country and around the world. It would be wonderful fun!


Life Has Me Reeling

I've been reeling lately. There is an awful lot going on and little if any of it is "good." Since my mother's diagnosis with ovarian cancer in October (her last chemo was 3/1 - she's doing really well), I've been dealing with a family who has been hurtful in many, many ways - attacking me in ways I never saw coming (and that may be coming from a biased viewpoint but I could back it up if I was interested in sharing details), a son who has strayed back into his old habits and is choosing to make a mess out of his life, a husband who has been laid off from his job and what feels a bit like a domino effect in friends and acquaintances getting divorced.

It really feels like I'm watching a boxing match on TV only I'm one of the people in the ring - I have no defense and the punches keep coming from all directions. I can't see who is throwing those punches and I'm not sure how many more I can take before going down. That bugs me.

Truth is - I know Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday. I know He's going to be the same tomorrow. I trust that none of this has been a surprise to Him, I trust that He knows the plans He has for me and I can't see the whole picture. I don't know the outcome - He does and it is the best for me. I get up every day trusting Him and trusting that. I also know I can't control other people. If other people make poor choices or are cowardly or hurtful, I can't stop them, I can only react to them and I don't want to react in sin. That has to be one of the toughest things going!! I'm not a passive kind of person. I get fighting mad in seconds and what comes out of my mouth is often the kind of stuff that should have never been said.

Each day, I feel like I'm letting my joy go and I might have just let it float far enough away I can't catch it. As if it is a balloon I'm holding and someone forgot to tie it to my wrist. It's all silly - I know my joy comes from God, not from circumstances. I know how I should react and that I need to keep in constant prayer. I think I've just wandered a bit too far out onto those wobbly rocks and have removed my feet from that solid ground on which I know I can rely. I've put too much of "me" into my life and not enough of "Him."

What else can I possibly do to remind myself of the truth I know? Today is the kind of day when I wish I was more like Jesus - not tied to a 9-5 type of job, stuck at a desk. Today is the kind of day I need to go far, far away and pray. Pray. Pray. Pray.

What are the chances I get to do that? What do you do when you need to get away but the opportunity just isn't there and the five minutes alone in your bedroom doesn't do it anymore?


Sunday Strength

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

~Colossians 3:1-4


Happy Spring!

Spring is here! Spring is here! Spring is here! Spring is here!!

Think I'm happy about that?

Do something happy... and pastel-ly today.....

Get your Spring on, people!


SO Very Proud!

A few years back. Ok... several years back... I had the honor of being a part of the lives of four young women by co-working with a friend to disciple them in what our church calls "SF12" (Student Fellowship for 12 weeks at a time). In those weeks we did a study together, learned about their lives and walked with them as they grew in their relationship with Christ. It was the most amazing, blessed time I have ever been fortunate to have with young people. God didn't grant me the honor of giving birth to a daughter. Instead, He gave me these young women. It is so wonderful to still be a part of the lives of three of them six years later. One of them has graduated from college and is now working as a researcher in the bio-medical field.

Another was married in July almost two years ago and she is the one for whom we celebrated tonight. She will be graduating from college in May with her degree in education, with a teaching certificate in Spanish (and forgive me - I know I am describing that incorrectly but I get SO lost in all of the degrees and certificates this woman has, I'm not quite sure which is which anymore.). She has been student teaching at a school where 1/2 of her day is spent teaching in English and the other half teaching in Spanish. She was a missionary in Chile for a year before she went back to school to finish her degree and she ultimately hopes to be a Professor someday - to teach those who want to teach those who want to learn Spanish.

That brings us to our celebration. She has been accepted at Oxford University, in their Masters Program and will be leaving in September to begin said program in October.

Her Masters.

At Oxford.

I'm not sure I can say anything more than I am oh so incredibly proud of her. Did I mention there are a whopping ten spots available each year in this program? Ten. She manage to procure one spot in ten in the Masters Program at Oxford... Can you feel my awe and pride in this woman? As I sit here now I can almost see it - it's almost as if it hovers around me and is a physical thing.

As I sat tonight in my friend's living room, looking at two of those four young ladies (by the way - #3 couldn't be with us as she is in Idaho at DTS with YWAM. Amazing young people...) that God put in my life so many years ago and I couldn't help but think how incredibly blessed I have been to be a part of what they are doing and who they are becoming. They are beautiful, vibrant, thoughtful and brilliant women and I love them. Just as if I'd given birth to them.

A perfect Friday evening. I could cry.


St. Patrick's Day

A Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all! Just a wee bit o' fun today... Pay a bit of homage to our Irish ancestors...

Christopher's green for the day....

He took green-icinged chocolate cookies in for this classmates, too.

A bit of cheer I took into the office to brighten up the front desk... Made one for Christopher's teacher, too (Used a different glass container, though. Did not see a beer mug heading into school going over very well.).
Thank you to Hostess with the Mostess for the idea and the downloadable labels.


A Celebration

My sister-in-law is one of the best women I know. I am so blessed to be able to call her family and I know if I'm hanging out with her, I'm laughing and having a great time. Her birthday is at the beginning of March and since that first weekend was swamped for us, we invited her and her husband over to our place last Sunday to celebrate.

Not that I need an excuse but... spring is almost here, the weather has been gorgeous and she and my mother-in-law bought me the most amazing lilac lace-design chargers for Christmas. I've been itching to set my table in pretty pastels so...it was the perfect reason to "go purty." Shandy deserves it! Here is the table "in process." It's not completely set in this picture but I was running out of time and wanted to be sure I grabbed a picture or two of the prettiness.
Closer to being completely set:
I don't know how well you can see them here but the placecards are from Tricia-Rennea. I find so many awesome things on her blog. She is incredibly talented.
My husband & I made a yummy dinner of bbq'd chicken, asparagus and a salad. Ok... truth be told? The only thing I made was the salad. It's such an easy one to do, too. Mixed greens, chop up a pear (or two - depends on how big a salad you need), toss in some almond slivers and mix together with poppyseed dressing. YUM!

We were too busy eating to take pictures (ok - that's not the real reason I have no pictures of the food - the real reason is I never remember to pull out my camera) of the food. However...I did take pictures of the table, the cake and Shandy's gifts. We had a fun evening and as they always seem to be, they were over far too quickly.

Yummm... carrot cake!
Hellebore - double-duty as table centerpiece AND birthday present. Perfect!
Shandy holding her prints with her husband Jules next to her. The little hand in the picture is C2 taking his own pictures. He is growing up WAY too fast!!!!

Along with the placecards, I found my sister-in-law's gift via Tricia-Rennea's blog when she wrote a post about her friend Shannon Justice and a great opportunity to own two mini-prints of Shannon's work. Well, when I saw those mini-prints, Shandy popped right into mind. I knew she had to have one of each. They're perfect for her and she loves them. Blogs are such awesome resources!

All in all a great birthday celebration. Since next year means a milestone for both her and her husband Jules (the big 4-0...), I'm already thinking about a theme for a BIG girl & boy party, celebrating them both together. I can't wait to start working on it!


For Men

Not that any men (beside my husband - hi, honey!) read my blog but on the off chance they stumble across it...

The Rules of a Gentleman

'course, if any women decide to read my blog post, they could share this with their husband/significant other...


Sunday Strength

"Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the house of Jacob their sins.

For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.

They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

~Isaiah 58


Cozy at Home

I'm with Emily. I would (almost) always rather be at home than anywhere else. Truth is, though, I am rarely at home. Monday through Friday means I'm in the office and the evenings mean Coalition meetings, class or church, Saturday is often (not always) job #2 or errands or time with friends and Sunday is church. Sunday afternoon, though... ahhhh the joys of Sunday afternoon.

As often as I can possibly do it, I keep us at home on Sundays after church. We attend the early service which means we're home by 11 AM and do you know how many glorious hours that gives us relaxing, reading, puttering around before we head to bed? At least 10... Ten of the best hours of the week.

This time of year usually finds us in the living room, reading and enjoying a fire in our beautiful insert. I can feel all of the weeks tensions just melt right off of me as I enjoy the cozy heat from the fire, feet curled up on the couch, covered with a comfy blanket. The house gets so quiet, the only thing you can hear is the sound of popping wood and the dog snoring.

Sometimes a nap is in order, sometimes I finish a long sitting book. No matter what I end up doing, I always stop and pinch myself just a little bit. It is so picture perfect to me and I can't quite believe I'm as blessed as I am.

For Sundays that meander along like that, Sunday evening always comes far too fast...

I'm linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky.


Aquarium Party

In my last post I talked about attending the engagement party of a dear friend. The party was held at the Seattle Aquarium and we were so very fortunate to have it to ourselves for the entire evening. Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of time to take pictures of all the Aquarium offers but here are a few shots from the night. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

The octopus was feeling a bit 'sad' that night, we believe. Her eggs had just been 'vacuumed' out of her tank that day. It's too difficult for the Aquarium to take care of baby octopii. Did you know they lay up to 80,000 eggs at a time? Anyhow...she will be released back into the wild shortly, given an opportunity to breed in her natural habitat. The octopus tank is much nicer than just some plexiglass tube and I didn't want you to think they're living in some horrible place. Actually? The octopus is an amazing creature and the more I learn about them the more I want to know...


Sunday Night

Last night I had the privilege of celebrating the engagement of one of the most extraordinary women I know. She'd demur...she'd say she's incredibly ordinary and perhaps that's true. However, she's an ordinary woman who answered God's call on her life, has lived that life serving Him and the indigenous tribes of Brazil. For over a decade (it might even be a decade & a half by now...I have lost count), she has been a missionary in Brazil and her job? To translate the Word of God into the languages of the tribes she serves.

How does that get accomplished? Through stories. Stories recorded in the Tribe's native language and then made available to the Tribe.

Over a decade. In the jungle. Don't get me wrong - she lives with electricity, running water, etc. but some of the Tribes she serves? They don't. It can take her three weeks to travel TO some of these tribes. By plane, then car, then canoe, then hike... in. Then... hike, canoe, car and fly back out.

Day in, day out. Year in, year out. In obedience to God.


In doing that, she has always trusted God to provide for every one of her needs. She has never been married, always trusting and resting in the fact that God brings in His time. Not in ours.

And oh has He brought... The man she will marry in July, whom I have only had the pleasure of meeting for about 3 minutes yesterday, is by all accounts and from what I saw yesterday, a humble, kind and generous servant of God. He loves God and he loves my friend and because of that I am overjoyed for her. When I received the invitation to their engagement party I sat in my car and shouted for joy and clapped my hands in excitement. I haven't been this happy since my husband proposed to me.

Did I mention that this woman, who barely knows me, has prayed faithfully for my oldest son for six years? Who keeps him on her heart even though we rarely get to talk to one another? For that she holds a special place in my heart. I have prayed for her for those six years and will continue to prayer for her and I know - even with this major change in her life - she will continue to pray for my son and I. I love her for that, amongst other things, but for that she will always remain special to me.

My camera does not take the best pictures. Between that and how many people were there last night, this is the only picture I was able to take of the two of them together that isn't blurry. Are they not the most beautiful couple you have ever seen? I know they are to me...

Pray for them with me, will you? Pray God continues to bless their lives, fill it with His joy. She said last night she is "euphoric." I know - real life will step in and they'll get down to the business of every day living but pray that "euphoric" is a feeling that, when it comes to her husband, she never loses... and he never stops feeling the same for her.

More from the party in a later post...


Sunday Strength

Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

~Psalm 27:3-5